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Sen. Menendez Pressures Joe Biden, Distracted by Ukraine, to Address ‘Genocide’ in Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on March 18, 2022

💭 የዲሞክራት ሴናተር ሮበርት ሜኔንዴዝ በዩክሬን ጉዳይ የተዘናጋው ጆ ባይደን በትግራይ ኢትዮጵያ ስለሚካሄደው ‘የዘር ማጥፋት’ እንዲናገር ገፋፉት

የኒው ጄርሲ ሴናተር የሆኑት ሮበርት ሜንዴዝ አስተዳደራቸው በኢትዮጵያ መንግስት ላይ የዘር ማጥፋት ወንጀል ክስ እንዲገመግም እና በዚያች ሀገር ውስጥ ያለውን አስከፊ የእርስ በርስ ጦርነት ለመፍታት ባይድን የበለጠ እንዲሰራ ጠይቀው ለፕሬዚዳንት ጆ ባይደን ሐሙስ ዕለት ደብዳቤ ልከዋል።

ሜኔንዴዝ የባይደን ስቴት ዲፓርትመንትን ቀውሱን ለመቅረፍ በፍጥነት አልሄደም ሲሉ ተችተው፣ እዚያ ያሉ ዲፕሎማቶች “ይህንን ጥያቄ ላለመከታተል የወሰኑ የሚመስሉት ሁላችንም ያየነውን በአደባባይ ከመግለጽ ለማዳን ነው፤ በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የተፈፀመው ግፍ የጦር ወንጀሎች ወይም በሰው ልጆች ላይ የሚፈጸሙ ወንጀሎች መለያ ምልክቶች አሉት።

የኢትዮጵያ ባለስልጣናት በትግራይ የዘር ማጥፋት ወንጀል መፈጸማቸውን እቀጥላለሁ እናም አስተዳደሩ በተቻለ ፍጥነት የራሱን ግምገማ እንዲያደርግ አጥብቄ እጠይቃለሁሲሉ ሴነተር ሜኔንዴዝ ጽፈዋል።

የኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ መንግሥት የወሰደው እርምጃ የዘር ማጥፋት ነው ብዬ አምናለሁ፣ እና እርስዎ የጦር ወንጀሎች፣ በሰው ልጆች ላይ የተፈጸሙ ወንጀሎች እና የዘር ማጥፋት ድርጊቶች ተፈጽመዋል የሚለውን እንዲገመግሙ የውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትሩን እንዲመሩ እጠይቃለሁ። በዚህ አመት መጨረሻ ባወጁት መሠረት የአሜሪካአፍሪካ የመሪዎች ጉባኤ ላይ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትር አብይ አህመድ እንዲሳተፍ መጋበዝ አለበት ወይስ የለበትም የሚለውን ቁርጠኝነት ባይኖርም በጥንቃቄ እንዲያጤኑበት እጠይቃለሁ፤ሲሉ ሴነተር ሜኔንዴዝ ተናግረዋል።

💭 Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday demanding his administration issue an assessment of accusations of genocide against the government of Ethiopia and demanding Biden do more to address the brutal civil war in that country.

Biden’s foreign policy has been almost entirely focused in the past month on Ukraine, where a nationwide war erupted last month after Russian leader Vladimir Putin escalated his eight-year-old invasion into a full-scale assault on the country. The Biden administration has dedicated much time and effort to accusing Putin’s government of atrocities against Ukrainian civilians and Biden himself referred to Putin as a “war criminal” this week.

Civil war erupted in Ethiopia in November 2020 prompted by an attack on a government military camp by members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) a Marxist political party that once ruled the country and is headquartered in the Tigray region, home of the ethnic Tigray people. While a minority, the Tigray, through the TPLF, ruled the country from 1991 to 2018, when current Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Abiy Ahmed took over. Abiy, a member of the Oromo majority ethnic group, moved to isolate the TPLF and ultimately outlawed the group.

Abiy also launched a large military offensive against the TPLF and blockaded the Tigray region itself, resulting in widespread food insecurity and attacks on civilians that have led to accusations of genocide and fears that millions could die of starvation. Human rights groups have also documented cases of widespread use of rape as a weapon of war. An Amnesty International report published in August documented interviews with Tigray women who said Ethiopian military soldiers raped them in front of children and other family members.

Abiy himself has gone to the front line of the war and allegedly fought, urging Oromo and Amhara civilians to take up arms against the Tigray people. The Nobel Prize Committee has condemned Abiy, but not revoked his prize – granted in 2019 for brokering a peace agreement between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea.

On the other side of the war, the highest-profile TPLF member in the world is the director-general of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accused of covering up a cholera outbreak while serving as health minister under a Tigray-led Ethiopian government. Tedros has attempted to use the W.H.O. to deliver food and other humanitarian aid to Tigray with minimal success; the Abiy government regularly accuses him of interfering in the war itself to benefit the TPLF.

In #Ethiopia, 6 million people in #Tigray have been under blockade by Ethiopian & Eritrean forces for almost 500 days. 83% of the population is food insecure. There is almost no fuel, cash or communications. The situation is catastrophic. People are dying.pic.twitter.com/NGMXb0b1O1

— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 16, 2022

In his letter, Sen. Menendez accused Abiy of genocide and urged Biden to consider doing the same.

“I continue to assert that Ethiopian officials have committed genocide in Tigray and I strongly urge the administration to make its own assessment as soon as possible,” Menendez wrote.

As United States Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power pointed out last week, the Government of Ethiopia continues its humanitarian blockade of Tigray,” the senator observed. “Thousands of political opponents of the regime remain in prison, seemingly for no reason other than expressing support for opposition political parties, along with those who were detained during the State of Emergency and are slated to be charged and prosecuted.”

“And reports of conflict and abuse continue in northern Ethiopia and beyond. On Monday, Reuters reported on a video that surfaced on social media showing men—some of whom were wearing Ethiopian military uniforms– burning civilians to death in the Benishangul-Gumuz region,” he continued.

Menendez noted that “all parties to the conflict have committed abuses,” acknowledging extensive reports of heinous violence committed by TPLF fighters and associates. A harrowing Reuters report in December highlighted the devastation in one Amharic community, where locals described Tigray fighters storming villages killing men in markets, churches, and other civilian public areas while gang-raping the women.

“Townspeople said more than 70 women were raped by Tigrayan fighters” in Belete Asrate, Amhara, according to Reuters.

“More than 300 people were killed in air strikes, carried out by the federal government in Tigray. Tigrayan forces in the Amhara region stand accused of 300 incidents of rape,” Menendez wrote to Biden. “Many more incidents have occurred during the course of hostilities that the OHCHR [U.N. Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights] has pointed out may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

Menendez criticized the Biden State Department for not moving quickly enough to address the crisis, writing that diplomats there appear to have “decided not to pursue this question so as to avoid stating publicly what we have all witnessed: the atrocities that have taken place in Ethiopia bear the hallmarks of war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

“I believe that the actions taken by the Ethiopian federal government amount to genocide, and I urge you direct the Secretary of State to assess whether war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide have taken place,” Menendez concluded. “I also ask that you carefully consider whether Prime Minister Abiy should be invited to participate in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit that you announced for later this year, even absent such a determination.”

Biden spoke with Abiy in January “discuss the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia and opportunities to advance peace and reconciliation,” according to the White House.

“President Biden expressed concern that the ongoing hostilities, including recent air strikes, continue to cause civilian casualties and suffering,” the White House readout revealed, “and he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to work alongside the African Union and regional partners to help Ethiopians peacefully resolve the conflict.”

Source

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